How to Repair a Leaking Toilet

If you’re noticing water on the floor somewhere around the base of your toilet, you may think you need to call a plumber. Actually, if you have a little time, a few tools, and the know-how, you can probably fix the leaking toilet yourself.

One cause of water around the toilet is simply loose connections. Check the connections on the water supply line to make sure they are tight. Then, check the nut on the underside of the toilet tank to make sure it’s properly in place and secure too. If not, use an adjustable wrench to do the job.

Are you seeing water coming out from underneath the toilet? This is usually a sign that the wax seal needs replaced. To do this, you’ll need to first shut off the water supply valve. Carefully lift the lid of the tank up and off; set it aside where it won’t get broken. Flush the toilet a couple of times and hold the handle down to clear the water out of the tank. Then, use a sponge and a bucket to sop up any remaining water.

The next step is to unhook the water supply line. Keep a rag handy to sop up any water that may drain out of it. Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the nuts on the bolts that hold the toilet to the floor.

Now, here’s where you’ll need to use a little muscle: grab the toilet bowl on each side and pull it forward, and then back a few times to break the wax seal underneath. Lift the entire toilet up and away from the floor; set it aside out of your way. Use a putty knife to remove the existing wax seal from the base pipe and from the bottom of the toilet.

Place a new wax seal down on the base pipe. Make sure you have it perfectly centered and in place! If you don’t, the seal won’t work and you’ll still have a leaking toilet!

Finally, carefully lift the toilet up and place it over the wax seal. Make sure the holes in the base of the toilet are aligned with the bolts before you set it down. Place the washers and the nuts over the bolts, and turn each one a few times. Before you tighten them securely, press down firmly on the perimeter of the toilet bowl to set the wax seal.

Make sure the toilet is lined up properly, then tighten the base nuts one at a time, a little at a time, until they are secure. Then, hook the water supply line back up and turn the water back on.

Another common problem of a leaking toilet, or one that won’t shut off, is a faulty flapper. The flapper is the black rubber piece that fits snugly into the hole on the bottom of the toilet tank. If the flapper becomes worn or cracked, it will allow water to leak out of the tank.

A flapper is easy to replace. You can buy a new one at your local hardware store for a few bucks. To install a new part, just shut off the water supply valve to the toilet. Basically, you unhook the faulty flapper and remove the chain that holds it. Then, position the new flapper into place, hook it up, and replace the chain. Turn the water back on and check to make sure the flapper is doing its job. If the tank now holds water without letting it leak out, your job is done!

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